There are no vanilla pansies in India
So, I have a date tonight. Naturally, I have to fly halfway across the world to find one. And naturally, only a Houston-bred Indian deported to his homeland after twenty months in the pen for pot possession would ask me out.
I'm in Bangalore again, in the shopping district and some dump of a hotel (unsurprisingly, my rupees don't go as far here in the big city). I spent the afternoon strolling the shops and buying some jewelry, and stopped in a second hand bookstore to find something for my grandpa. If you're the kind of person who gets annoyed when salespeople approach you the instant you walk in a store, you would hate India. Immediately four people walk towards me, but when one of them says, "Hey what can I help you find?" with a subtle Southern twang, I'm like, hey, you're American. He helped me find some books and talked on quite hilariously the whole time, asking if I was enjoying all the men here staring at me "like you were a piece of meat," and loudly making fun of his cousins, who were standing around listening to us, in English, which they didn't understand.
He found out I'm a lawyer and told me his fool proof corporate laundering scam, complete with dominatrixes, right out of some craigslist post. I really can't tell if he's joking, because he's got that tone where you just laugh at everything he says, to which he replies, "No really, I'm serious, come on board and I'll prove it to you. I've got the contracts ready." Anyway, he asked me to have dinner with him and I said only if we have it on this block (busy street where my hotel is). He's already joked about being a big flirt and I'm certainly not interested in anything besides what I'm sure will be some amusing conversation, so I said okay.
At any rate, today was a highly refreshing day to put all that Calicut madness behind me. As I left Mysore this morning I decided to stop and see the Ranagatthitu Bird Sanctuary, which Maisnon and I ended up skipping on the way down. I'm so glad I went! It's totally beautiful, with these gorgeous spoonbills and painted herons, real big water birds, just hanging out in the trees. Oh, and bats! Hundreds of bats just sleeping up there. So to see them up-close you have to take this leisurely boat ride around the lake, but - and this is one of the perils of traveling alone - the guard argued with me, saying I'd have to pay some ridiculous amount. Instead, I asked the family of five adults ahead of me if I could go with them. Not only were they more than happy to have me, but when they'd chatter about the birds, the man next to me would translate, and when I offered to pay my share for the boat, they absolutely refused. So, so nice. Also, I have some sweet up-close crocodile pics.
Then while I was walking down the street in Bangalore, an old man matches my pace and asks me where I'm from (see, it happens all the time), then, he's a little hard to understand, but goes on for ten minutes about 9/11 and how many people died and...I'm not sure what his point was, but it wasn't hostile, then when he asked and discovered I'm a lawyer, said "Lawyers have no fear. They are fearless!" And how when people were in trouble we come to fix it all, or something. He could have been saying "liars" and not "lawyers," which would change a lot. Anyway, it was totally random, but somehow kind of sweet. I just love how strangers here are so willing to come up and talk to you about absolutely anything.